Federal judge denies Afghan Guantanamo detainee habeas petition

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday denied [order, PDF] the habeas corpus petition of Afghan Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Obaidullah [DOD materials]. While Obaidullah has denied the charges against him, Judge Richard Leon noted that he has changed his story several times. The court cited evidence presented by the US government showing that Obaidullah hid his property in mine shells, had possession of a notebook containing instructions and wiring diagrams of IEDs, and stored an automobile with Taliban propaganda inside that was used to transport bomb cell members to a local hospital. Leon denied Obaidullah's petition for release, stating:

[C]ombining all of this evidence and corroborated intelligence, the mosaic that emerges unmistakably supports the conclusion that it is more likely than not that petitioner Obaydullah was in fact a member of an al Qaeda bomb cell committed to the destruction of US and Allied forces. As such, he is lawfully detainable under the [Authorization for Use of Military Force] (AUMF) [text, PDF].
Obaidullah was initially charged [JURIST report] by the military in 2008 with hiding and storing anti-tank mines to be deployed against US forces in Afghanistan. He has been held at Guantanamo since 2002.

In January, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] decided on a military prosecution [JURIST report] for Obaidullah. The case was passed over to the Pentagon, which must now decide whether to formally try Obaidullah in a military commission [JURIST news archive]. Obaidullah is the sixth Guantanamo detainee to have his case referred for military trial since US president Barack Obama ordered the closing [JURIST report] of the facility and a review of all detainees' cases in January 2009. In November 2009, the DOJ designated five other cases for military trials, including that of Canadian detainee Omar Khadr [JURIST report]. Also in November, Holder announced [JURIST report] that five accused 9/11 [JURIST news archive] conspirators would be tried in US federal court.

 

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